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Scorching Silicon Demo

Source Institutions

    Science Museum (London)

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Scorching Silicon Demo

In this demonstration, educators make silicon from sand with a mighty explosion! Learners discover the properties of everyday materials and observe how these properties can change to create new materials. This demonstration is very impressive and a great way to capture learners’ attention and encourage discussion. However, this is not suitable for learners to do themselves and should only be conducted by an experienced educator. Before doing this demonstration, educators should read the "Practicalities" section of the guide.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 100 ml of hydrochloric acid (0.1M)
  • 500 ml of water
  • Boiling tube containing 5mm sand and 5mm magnesium powder
  • 1 litre heatproof beaker
  • Stirrer
  • Tongs
  • Tweezers
  • Spatula
  • Bunsen burner
  • Heatproof gloves
  • Goggles or full-face shield
  • Safety screen


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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